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Tuesday, 2 October 2023


Robberies (including muggings, and snatch thefts) are crimes that often involve violence or threats. While the likelihood of this happening is small, you should be aware of what you can do to keep yourself and your property safe.

Top tips: staying safe from robbery

If you have to walk alone at night take extra care. Stay on roads that are well lit and relatively busy.

To stay safe, you can also:

  • plan your route in advance
  • avoid short cuts that involve alleyways or walking across parks or commons unless they are well-lit
  • if you're carrying a bag, try to have it across your chest and keep your hand over the fastening
  • be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to what’s going on around you
  • be careful with your electronics; talking on a mobile phone, listening to an MP3 player or carrying a laptop bag shows thieves that you have something to steal
  • don't carry important documents or credit cards that you do not need
  • avoid using cash machines at night
  • only take your wallet out when you need to
  • if you think you are being followed, cross the road or go into a shop and stay there until you're sure you're safe

Staying safe on public transport

If you are travelling by yourself and you know how to get home, using public transport is safer than walking. However, you should still use common sense to protect yourself.

If you are waiting for a bus or a train, stand in a well-lighted area near other people. Once you are on board, try and sit near other people and make sure you know where the emergency alarms are.

Don’t be afraid to change seats or carriages if you feel unsafe, even if it seems rude to do so.

Taking care at cash machines

Choose a well-lighted cash machine that can be seen from the road, or from nearby houses. Ideally, you should get cash out from machines located inside businesses such as banks or building societies.

Stay alert and keep an eye on who is about – if someone suspicious is waiting nearby, find another cash machine.

Don’t be distracted by people you don’t know trying to talk to you while at the cash machine.

When taking money out of the machines, stay aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on the people around you. Are they keeping a reasonable distance? If they're too close, cancel your withdrawal.

Have your card out and ready before you actually walk up to the cash machine. Make sure no one can read your PIN number when you enter it, and put your cash away quickly.

Keeping your mobile phone safe

The most common item stolen in a robbery is a mobile phone, so make sure you keep your phone safe.

If you're not making a call, keep your phone hidden away. Keep it in one of your front pockets or inside a bag. Don't attach the phone to your belt or hang it around your neck.

Register your phone

All the major mobile phone networks have systems in place to ensure that stolen mobiles are blocked within 48 hours, making them completely useless.

You should register the details of your phone with your network provider so that they can block it should it ever be lost or stolen. You can also register your mobile phone with the National Mobile Phone Register using the link below.

Check with your mobile phone company for more information on how to protect your phone.

Reporting a crime

If you have been robbed or someone has attempted to rob you, please report the crime immediately. Call 999 as soon as you can safely do so, either from your mobile phone, a call box or from a nearby shop or business.

A police officer or member of police staff will ask you to describe what has happened and where you are. They will ask if you’re hurt, and if you are they will send an ambulance to help you.

Remember that giving as full a description of the robber as you can will assist the police in investigating the crime.

Help and support if you've been robbed

If you've been robbed, lots of organisations can give you help and support.

Additional links

Victims of crime - find help

If you're a victim of crime, you can now search for services in your area that can give you help and support

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